Your Social Security Check Is NOT in the Mail

By Ken Berry
 
Do you have clients who still receive their Social Security checks in the mail? Mail carriers won't be dropping them in your clients' mailboxes in the near future. The government has announced it will no longer be issuing paper checks, so recipients will have to access their funds electronically. They'll have until March 1, 2013, to make the switch.
 
This change already affects older baby boomers who recently retired. As of May 1, 2011, new retirees are required to choose one of two electronic payment methods. Approximately 80 percent of Social Security recipients currently receive their payments electronically.
 
A retiree making the switch can have Social Security payments deposited directly into a bank or credit union or loaded on a prepaid debit card. To use direct deposit, the routing transit number and account number for the bank or credit union must be provided. Clients can sign up at GoDirect.org. Alternatively, they can call the U.S. Treasury Electronic Payment Solution Center at (800) 333-1795 or ask about the direct deposit feature at a local banking institution.
 
Are you subscribed to AccountingWEB newsletters? Click here to sign up for free.
Social Security recipients who don't choose an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013, will receive their payments via a Direct Express Debit MasterCard account. More than 1.5 million individuals have signed up for these prepaid debit cards since they first became available in 2008.
 
As with a bank account, fees may be charged for certain debit card transactions. For example, individuals may make purchases at retail locations, receive cash back with a purchase, and take one withdrawal per month at one of the in-network ATMs – which include Comerica Bank, Charter One, Privileged Status, Alliance One, PNC Bank, MasterCard ATM Alliance, and MoneyPass – completely free of charge. However, if someone makes more than one ATM withdrawal per month at an in-network ATM, it costs 90 cents per withdrawal. Additional fees, which can be as much as $3, also apply to withdrawals at out-of-network ATMs. Receiving a paper statement in the mail will cost another 75 cents per month.
 
By eliminating printing and postage costs for Social Security checks, the government expects to save $1 billion over the next ten years.
 
Related article:

 

You may like these other stories...

IRS chief: New rule on the way for tax-exempt groupsIRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the USA Today on Monday that the agency will likely rewrite a proposed rule regulating the political activities of nonprofit groups to...
With tomorrow being Tax Day, you might see some procrastinators at your office filling out forms, printing out paperwork, or getting last-minute tax advice from their accountant so they can meet the IRS’s filing...
The IRS has launched 295 new identity theft and refund fraud investigations during this tax-filing season, bringing the number of active cases to nearly 1,900, the agency announced last week.The coast-to-coast enforcement...

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Apr 17
In this exciting presentation Excel expert David H. Ringstrom, CPA shares tricks that you can use with pivot tables every day. Remember, either you work Excel, or it works you!
Apr 22
Is everyone at your organization meeting your client service expectations? Let client service expert, Kristen Rampe, CPA help you establish a reputation of top-tier service in every facet of your firm during this one hour webinar.
Apr 24
In this session Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA introduces you to a powerful but underutilized macro feature in Excel.
Apr 25
This material focuses on the principles of accounting for non-profit organizations' revenues. It will include discussions of revenue recognition for cash and non-cash contributions as well as other revenues commonly received by non-profit organizations.